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Monday, March 28, 2016

Vegan Chocolate Banana Shake

Happy Monday! If you celebrate, I hope you had a nice Easter. :)

I get a lot of requests for smoothie/shake recipes and so I thought I would share a very simple and yummy shake. Best of all, it's dairy free! 

print recipe

Vegan Chocolate Banana Shake
Looking for a sweet, but healthy treat? One that is vegan/dairy free?
  • 2 Bananas
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Cocoa
  • 1 So Delicious Vanilla Mini Sandwich
  • Optional: Spinach, Kale, Flaxseed, Wheatgrass Powder
To enhance the enjoyment of this beverage, you'll want to chill a container or mug. Or if you prefer, you can stick your drink in the fridge for five to ten minutes.Add a half a cup of almond milk into your blenderPeel two bananas (You can also use two frozen bananas)Add a tablespoon of baking cocoaAdd your mini ice cream sandwich (I don't eat dairy, but if you do, you can substitute the mini vegan ice cream sandwich for one with dairy)If you want to add some greens/fiber to this shake, you can add in spinach, kale, flaxseed, whatever you like. I like to add some wheatgrass powder. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute (I use a Vitamix)And Voila! Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 Serving


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Until next time,


Monday, March 21, 2016

Putting Out The Flame - Raising Awareness for Chronic Pain and Invisible Illness

Today's blog is a personal one....It's been eight years since I was an inpatient in Children's Hospital of Michigan. Nine years ago, in 2007, I stumbled in gym class. I didn't think much of it, except for the fact it hurt! I figured I could wait until the end of my school day, and so I went on with my day, hobbling along. Little did I know, this so called "stumble" would change my life. 

Fast forward a bit...I ended up being diagnosed with RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also known as CRPS...Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). RSD is a chronic pain condition. False pain signals are sent to the brain. Think of it as a fight or flight response...The body reacts as if it's under attack.   

Symptoms include:

Pain (burning sensation), sensitivity to touch, swelling, changes in color, etc. 

There are also cognitive symptoms such as fatigue, depression, short term memory loss, etc. 

You can contract the condition from a fracture, a surgery to a limb, or from something as minor as a mosquito bite or a paper cut. Many people familiar with this condition think it only affects a limb; it can affect a person internally as well. The condition is known to spread. If you contract it in one limb, over time it may affect the other. 

I believe things happen for a reason. I believe in turning pain into purpose. I've been in support groups and mentor and lend assistance to people afflicted with this condition. I've raised awareness, been featured in a local publication and I support foundations raising money for research so that we can "put out the flame" and find a cure. 

In 2011, four years after my initial injury, I was involved in a car accident. My condition ended up being exacerbated and as a result, I also have Fibromyalgia. 

The Fibromyalgia has caused me neck and back pain as well as chronic fatigue, brain fog, etc. Each day is different. I may not have an illness that is readily apparent and can be seen, but that doesn't mean I'm not struggling. As a chronic pain sufferer, one of the most difficult things I experience is that people don't understand and pass judgment. Chronic pain sufferers live with this 24/7 and some days we can leave the house and enjoy ourselves, and some days we can hardly get out of bed. I've certainly been judged and told "Oh, but you look great or you look healthy." You might see me out on a Friday night, but what you don't know, it's probably taking everything I've got to make it through the night. A long time ago, I decided I would not let this condition take control of me. So sometimes, I would rather be "miserable" and outside doing something enjoyable, than miserable, in bed. My illness may be invisible, but it doesn't mean that I'm well because you can't physically see anything wrong with me.  

People with chronic pain may be fine to go out one moment, but have to cancel last minute. We can be having an ok day and then all of a sudden, it hits us all at once. As family and friends, you might not understand what we are going through, but we need you to do your best to support us. We can't control what we are feeling and experiencing. 

In the chronic pain community, there is a popular story called "The Spoon Theory."  It gives you an idea of what someone in pain goes through on a day to day basis. Below you can click the link to read about it.

While some may look upon my journey as unfortunate, it's also been a blessing in disguise. Sure, I'm twenty years old and have been in pain since I was eleven, but despite it all, I've dealt with the challenges and I am grateful. It's made me the person I am today. I'm very empathetic and have gained knowledge on a variety of topics in the medical and holistic field. It's because of my condition that I've experienced holistic treatments and want to go into alternative medicine myself. I've made lifelong friendships, learned who my real friends are and who I could truly count on. I had to be homeschooled for the majority of my high school career and on one hand that can be seen as a negative, but I choose to look at it as a positive. I was able to travel and do things I could never have done if I had been in school full time. 

I often get asked what helps me because I do not take the traditional route in treatment. I personally like to be as natural as possible. 

I'm a big believer in meditation and biofeedback. Calming the body can really make a big difference. 

Energy healing modalities such as Cranio Sacral, Reiki, EFT... 

EFT is one of the techniques that you can learn to do on yourself. 
I have done EFT (Tapping) on myself and others with positive results. If you have any questions about it, please don't hesitate to send me a message. 

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and is also commonly referred to as Tapping. You tap on meridian points and it's said to help pain, negative feelings, anxiety, etc. I like to describe it as a mix of acupressure, self hypnosis and energy medicine all wrapped into one. 

I've also found that essential oils can be very helpful for inflammation and pain. 

Electric stimulators such as a TENS Unit if you can handle the sensation. 

Diet plays a major part in our health and well-being. I noticed a few years ago that certain foods inflamed my body. Foods I recommend staying away from...sugar, caffeine, processed foods, aspartame and dairy products. Of course, everyone is different and moderation may be key for you. 

Movement - Do what you can! Today, you might not be able to fathom getting out of bed; but tomorrow, you may be able to make that attempt to walk outside, to get the mail. And praise yourself even for the smallest victories that you accomplish. 

Remember, you know your body better than anyone else! 

I've come a very long way. I'm immensely proud of myself. There was a time, if I were to walk into a CVS with my father, you would find me sitting on the floor, crying in pain. A time when my foot was literally rotated outward to a 90 degree angle and there was nothing I could do to move it back inward. A time when I could hardly walk down a hall without it wearing me out. Of course, I still have my bad days! I've made significant strides and progress and know that it could always be much worse. I'm so blessed to wake up each day and knowing I'm not in the same place I was eight years ago, when I first arrived for my inpatient boot camp therapy stay. 

I'm considering making a blog post about my two week inpatient experience. The program originated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It is used as a prototype throughout the country, for children and teens affected by RSD/CRPS. I've come across many children diagnosed with this awful condition and think my post might provide some insight. 

This blog is dedicated to all those afflicted with an INVISIBLE DISEASE. You're not alone! I'M ALWAYS HERE and so are many others out there. ❤

This blog is dedicated to the friends I've made...Janis, Jamie, Karen, Terri, Jennifer, Susan, Wendy, Ali, my friends at RSD Hope, and my mentees. And to everyone who has stuck by me throughout the years and supported me along the way. 

This blog is also dedicated to one of my role models, Yolanda Hadid. She suffers from Lyme Disease and has gone through more than you could imagine, but she keeps a positive mindset and raises awareness. I send so much love and well wishes to you, Yo!

Thank you for reading this blog. It means lot to me.

If you have any questions, send me a message, email me at, or comment below and I will do my best to answer to them.

If you would like to subscribe to my blog, I would really appreciate it! You can comment your email below or give it to me personally. If for some reason, you are already subscribed and are not receiving an email in your inbox, check your spam folder. 

Until next time,


Monday, March 14, 2016

My March Must-Haves!

Happy Monday! Do you believe we are already in the middle of March? Where is the time going?

This week's blog post is on my current favorite things!

1. Wildfox "Je Taime Eiffel Tower Sweatshirt"

Now, I've had my eye on the cute clothes that Wildfox makes for a while. I never could justify spending $100 on a sweater though....Then about a month ago, I checked out Saks Off Fifth and saw their Wildfox clothing. It seemed more reasonable at $54.99...I still was on the fence...Until I tried it on. It is seriously my favorite thing to wear. Super soft and comfy and I love Paris, so it's the perfect sweater for moi!

2. ColourPop Lippie Stix- Brills

I've pretty much fallen in love with this cosmetic brand...I intend to make a future post about ColourPop. This is my new go to lip color. I actually went and ordered three more of this color, since I love it so much. Their Lippie Stix's are only $5 each and are cruelty free. 

3. Herbal Authority - Roll-On Tea Tree Oil Blemish Stick

For the past week I have been carrying this roll on stick with me wherever I go. I use a Tea Tree Oil face wash and it's said to help with blemishes...So, when I saw this product, I decided to give it a try. I didn't honestly have high expectations for it, but after using it a few times, I noticed it diminished the size of any blemishes I applied it to. I purchased it from Lucky Vitamin for half the retail price.  

4. Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares

While shopping on Lucky Vitamin, I came across Earth Balance snacks. Not eating dairy, I look to that brand for mac and cheese, crackers, etc. I had been craving something like Goldfish/Cheez-It's lately, so I ended up getting a box. I may have finished almost the entire box in a day! Definitely yummy and something I will be purchasing again soon!

5. The Wisdom of Your Face 

I have a lot of reference books on health, spirituality, etc. From time to time, I'll get inspired to pick one up, and read a chapter or two, Currently, I am reading this book on Chinese face reading. I find topics like this very interesting and recommend this book if you're interested as well. 

What is your favorite item at the moment? Tell me below in the comment section below!

As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below or feel free to email me at TheZenFashionista@Gmail.Com :)

If you would like to subscribe to my blog, I would really appreciate it! You can comment your email below or give it to me personally. If for some reason, you are already subscribed and are not receiving an email in your inbox, check your spam folder.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Here's To You, Jerry Hall

This week's blog is on one of my favorite people, Jerry Hall.

Video Tribute can be found here: Jerry Hall - International Smile

I'm fascinated by the lifestyle as well as the people of the 70's and 80's...Particularly, the party scene of Studio 54. I've admired Jerry for quite some time, and about a month ago I bought her coffee-table autobiography, where I learned a lot more about her.

She was one of the most photographed people from her era.

Born in Texas, she was a true country girl. At age 16, Jerry, jet-setted off to Paris in hopes of becoming a model. Within a week, she was spotted sunbathing on a beach in Saint-Tropez. A man approached her asking if she wanted to be a model. The next thing she knew she was living in Paris, with models from the agency she now belonged to. For a while, Grace Jones and her were roommates.

After being in Paris for less than two years, she was offered to model in New York for Ford Models and accepted. By the time Jerry Hall was 21, she had graced the cover of over 40 different magazines.
In the 1970s/1980s models weren't the "celebrities" that we see now. Without Jerry Hall, Grace Jones, Lauren Hutton and a handful of others, models would not be who they are today. They paved the way for so many to become ultra famous, and project the life of glamour and fame. It's because of these women that models have names for themselves and are no longer just nameless faces in ads.

While in New York, Hall became engaged to Bryan Ferry, lead singer of the band Roxy. You can see her appearance in the band's music video,"Let's Stick Together." After about two years, she left Ferry for Mick Jagger. They went on to spend over twenty years together and have four children; Elizabeth (Lizzie), James, Georgia May, and Gabriel. 

Jerry frequented the famous New York City nightclub, Studio 54. There she mingled with some of the most interesting and important people of that time period. She was good friends with Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld, hung out with Salvador Dali....etc

While filming a chocolate commercial, she was on break and met a set designer for the movie Batman. She asked for a role, and ended up playing Jack Nicholson's girlfriend in the 1989 film.

As for today?

She's starred in the theatrical production of The Graduate, as Mrs. Robinson in London's West End, throughout North America, and in 2010 in Australia.

She also played the Wicked Queen in a production of Snow White at the Richmond Theatre in London.

She was a contestant on the UK's, Strictly Come Dancing (Similar to Dancing With The Stars).

Jerry can also be found in The Guinness Book of World Records, for acting in six West End plays in one night. Not surprising, when you hear that back in the day, in two weeks, she walked 37 fashion shows! What can't this woman do?

In recent years she has been linked to a number of charitable organizations. She was part of TK Maxx's campaign (TJ Maxx in the United States), encouraging people to donate clothes, which in turn raised money for cancer research. She's an advocate for taking care of our planet, and teamed up with longtime friend and designer Vivienne Westwood, with Greenpeace, for a "Save The Arctic Campaign." Jerry has been an ambassador for a homeless organization in London called, Emmaus. She auctioned various designer pieces from her personal wardrobe and raised around 30,000 dollars.
Jerry also Participated in a photo shoot with her oldest daughter, Lizzie, for Fishlove, which raises awareness to the unsustainable fishing practices that are destroying our ecosystem. 

Below is my video tribute to Jerry. Enjoy!

Click the link for more information on her book, Jerry Hall: My Life In Pictures

As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below or feel free to email me at TheZenFashionista@Gmail.Com :)

If you would like to subscribe to my blog, I would really appreciate it! You can comment your email below or give it to me personally. If for some reason, you are already subscribed and are not receiving an email in your inbox, check your spam folder.

Until next time,